Insider trading informant gets year of probation

NEW YORK Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:37pm EST

NEW YORK Feb 11 (Reuters) - Former Galleon hedge fund portfolio manager Ali Far was sentenced to a year of probation on Monday, after pleading guilty and cooperating with investigators in the Raj Rajaratnam insider-trading case.

The sentence was handed down by Judge Robert Patterson, who also ordered Far to pay a $100,000 fine, do 100 days of community service and cooperate with prosecutors on other investigations during the time of his probation.

"While I can not change the past, I promise that I will do what I can to make up for it," Far told the court before his sentencing.

Far, who worked at Galleon from 1999 to 2007, started cooperating with the government's sweeping insider trading probe in April 2009.

He recorded calls with Galleon founder Rajaratnam at the direction of the FBI, and prosecutors have said his cooperation helped them obtain guilty pleas from defendants including Ali Hariri, a former vice president with Atheros Communications, and Adam Smith, a former colleague at Galleon.

Far, 52, was the "gentlemen" Rajaratnam referred to in a conversation with former McKinsey & Co partner Anil Kumar shortly before their arrest in October 2009, as he and Kumar sat on deck chairs at a Miami beach.

"You know Anil, I'm told there's a gentleman who used to work for me and he's now wearing a wire," Rajaratnam said according to March 2011 testimony by Kumar, who also pleaded guilty.

Rajaratnam is serving an 11-year prison term following his conviction for securities fraud and conspiracy charges in 2011. Kumar, who testified for the government at Rajaratnam's trial, was sentenced to two years probation.

Between 2003 and March 2009, Far traded on inside information on companies including semiconductor developers Broadcom Corp, Marvell Technology Group Ltd and Atheros Communications, now owned by Qualcomm Inc, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to securities fraud and wire fraud.

Far, who was born in Iran, co-founded the now-closed Spherix Capital LLC hedge fund in 2008 with Richard Choo-Beng Lee, who also pleaded guilty in the Galleon case. They paid more than $2 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in forfeitures, interest payments and a civil penalty to settle insider trading charges, the government said.

As part of his plea agreement, Far has been barred from associating with any investment adviser for the rest of his life.

The case is United States of America v. Ali Far, U.S. District Court in Manhattan, No. 09-01009.